Day 269 – Thru the Bible
Today we continue in Luke.
Luke 4 – Before Jesus’ ministry can begin He must experience temptation so that He may fully commune with humanity as a true man (Hebrews 4:15). Typically this passage is applied by exhorting the Believer to follow Jesus’ example of using Scripture when facing temptation. This is not wrong and is a wise course of action, but absolute Christlikeness in heart and action is beyond mere human accomplishment. So there is something deeper at work here as well. Jesus models for us what gospel faith looks like—trusting the Lord to provide rather than making decisions based on the urgencies of the situation. In each temptation the Devil presented a half-truth. But in each temptation Jesus sees the deeper principle at work, that the call of faith is the call to look to the Lord’s provision and timing. This kind of gospel living brings glory to God alone and defeats temptation.
In verses 18-19 we have yet another way in which the message of the gospel is explained. It is good news for those afflicted and in need (the “poor”); it is new freedom and liberty for those in bondage and the oppressed; it is a restoration of sight to the blind; it is, in short, the time and place of God’s favor upon those incapable of gaining it by their status or abilities. These images are first physical in meaning but they have a spiritual application as well. There is no inherent virtue in being poor or oppressed or in bondage, but these experiences typically correspond to and foster a certain condition of heart and soul. When we recognize our brokenness and bondage and blindness, the gospel meets us fully and restores us. The gospel applies to our lives at the level of our whole person, not only our need for sin-forgiveness. We apply this full gospel to ourselves by looking to Jesus for restoration in every area of our lives, not just in the “spiritual” realm, recognizing that full restoration may await heavenly fulfillment.
How do remind yourself that you cannot reflect Jesus until you surrender to Him?
Luke 5 – In this beautiful and powerful story we see Jesus use a physical miracle (the catch of fish) to bring about a spiritual one (the conversion of a man). Even as promised beforehand (2:34), we see the raising up of a lowly one in Israel—from being a fisherman to becoming the Lord’s disciple and a “fisher of men” (Matthew 4:19).
The two stages of receiving the gospel are wonderfully manifested in this story. First, it is necessary that we see ourselves clearly—as sinful and broken before the holy God—even as Peter did (Luke 5:8). But this alone will result in despair if the second stage is lacking—seeing Jesus as gracious, forgiving, and inviting us to follow (v. 10).
This story invites us daily to apply the gospel to our lives in the same way. We should ask God to enable us to understand our own sinful hearts and to enlighten our eyes to see Him as He truly is (Isaiah 6:1–13; Ephesians 3:14–19), both in His majesty and in His kindness toward us. This vision alone will enable us to follow Him and proclaim His greatness to others.
As Luke continues to unfold the message of the gospel, we see in this story the repeated centrality of the forgiveness of our sins (v. 20). Our reconciliation with God through Jesus is at the core of the gospel message (1:77). Yet it is also more than this, with the repeated emphasis on our restoration as people. The gospel has implications for the whole person, with the hope of our final restoration in the new creation (Romans 8:18–25; 1 Corinthians 15:50–57).
As this gospel goes forth it encounters two responses from two types of people, contrasted in this story. On the one hand are those like the grumbling Pharisees. Although they may be theologically astute and correct (Luke 5:21), they fail to see Jesus correctly and fail to have compassion on those in need. The other possible response to Jesus is to have faith to pursue Him (v. 18), to trust Him enough to obey (v. 25), and to glorify God for the works of Jesus (v. 26). This story calls us to apply the gospel to ourselves by this kind of believing response to Jesus.
How does this understanding of the Gospel both remind you of your condition before you met Jesus, and help you to celebrate your new life in Jesus?
What other thoughts or questions does today’s reading bring up?
Some of these notes are from the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible study notes. We highly recommend this study Bible.
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